Launching a very powerful, very expensive, very impractical car without a roof is always going to present its challenges. Even for the exceptionally wealthy, it will only ever be a plaything, which makes justifying its place in the barn all the more difficult. The situation for manufacturers has been complicated further in recent months, too, with the obvious restrictions on car production and the sheer proliferation of models - Aston Martin, Bentley and McLaren have all announced speedsters of some description, following a template first seen on the Ferrari Monzas.
Now it's been confirmed that McLaren will pare back production of its new roadster, the Elva, to just 249 units. What was a 399-car production run has been reduced by more than a third, owing to what CEO Mike Flewitt called in an interview with the Australian Financial Review "feedback from our customers". He went on to say that "they think the car should be more exclusive than that (399), so we've capped it at 249." Make of that what you will.
With the benefit of hindsight - always a joy - it probably should have been somewhere near that figure in the first place. Sure, the 500 examples of the 675LT went rather swiftly (as did the Spider), the 500 Sennas found buyers and there were 375 more than willing owners of the P1, but the Elva was more expensive than all of them and, by a significant margin, the least usable. With an iteration of the 4.0-litre V8 familiar now from the 720S as well, perhaps the Elva didn't offer something sufficiently discrete for buyers to covet another Ultimate Series McLaren - especially at £1.4m.
Nobody outside of McLaren knows for certain, of course, but the Elva's case can't have been made any easier by the sudden influx of rivals. There won't have been many Monzas - "well below five per cent of sales" - was the Ferrari line, Aston will make just 88 V12 Speedsters (at half the Elva's price) and the Bacalar was limited to just 12 cars. Still, those who have stumped up for an Elva will now receive an Ultimate Series car more exclusive than a Senna or a P1, which is quite the claim. Customers deliveries of the reduced run are still scheduled for the end of this year.